SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary and in addition to any other public funds, a person 65 years of age or older, shall be eligible for benefits pursuant to this act; provided that, such person stopped working due to coronavirus (COVID-19) before, on or after March 23, 2020 when the department of public health stay-at-home advisory was issued along with the governor’s order closing nonessential business and;
(i) is not eligible for unemployment benefits pursuant to chapter 151A of the General Laws, including but not limited to hourly workers, part-time workers, self-employed persons or other persons receiving a federal Form 1099; and
(ii) is unable to work as a result of an underlying condition as set forth in a Centers for Disease Control Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19
Transmission Guidance, including but not limited to:
(1) blood disorders, for example sickle cell disease or on blood thinners;
(2) chronic kidney disease as defined by a health care provider or has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because of kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis;
(3) chronic liver disease as defined by a health care provider, including for example, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis or such person has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because of liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease;
(4) a compromised immune system, including for example HIV or AIDS, seeing a health care provider for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, having received an organ or bone marrow transplant, or taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications;
(5) diagnosed with a endocrine disorder, for example diabetes mellitus;
(6) diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders;
(7) heart disease, such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease;
(8) lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen; or
(9) neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions, including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy or spinal cord injury.
SECTION 2. A person eligible for benefits pursuant to section 1 shall, not later than April 30, 2020, receive in a monthly allotment $1,500 per month. Such benefits may be increased upon application to the secretary of administration and finance, to the hotline provided for in section 3, if such benefits are insufficient to pay for rent or other necessaries or special unavoidable expenses such as car payments or credit card minimum payments.
SECTION 3. The secretary of administration and finance shall administer the benefits provided for in this act. The secretary shall provide for a telephone hotline on or before April 15, 2020 and receive applications via such hotline for such benefits.
SECTION 4. (a) There shall be established and set upon the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the COVID-19 Assistance Relief for Elders Fund, hereinafter known as the CARE Fund to be administered by the secretary of administration and finance for the purpose of providing cash benefits pursuant to this act.
(b) There shall be credited to the CARE Fund all amounts that are, by law, transferred or authorized to be transferred thereto or directed to be deposited therein, and all amounts received as gifts, grants, or contributions for the purposes of the CARE Fund. Amounts credited to the CARE Fund shall not be subject to further appropriation and any money remaining in the Fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund; provided, however, that the secretary may provide within the CARE Fund a reserve amount to support the commonwealth’s monitoring, treatment, containment, public awareness and prevention efforts against the 2019 novel coronavirus by the department of public health, regional and local boards of health and other public instrumentalities.
SECTION 5. On the effective date of this act, the comptroller shall transfer $15,000,000 from the General Fund to the CARE Fund established in section 4 for the purposes of carrying out this act.
SECTION 6. This act shall be repealed 180 days after the department of public health rescinds its stay at home advisory or any other subsequent stay at home advisory or order by the executive.
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